Picks and Pans Review: Gretchen Peters

updated 02/26/2001 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/26/2001 01:00AM

Gretchen Peters (Valley)

Album of the week
STARS "1"

The prolific pen of songwriter Gretchen Peters has brought her notable success, namely a 1995 Grammy nomination and a Country Music Association Song of the Year win, both for the Martina McBride hit "Independence Day." And if Peters never delivers another tune as achingly beautiful as "On a Bus to St. Cloud," which she wrote for Trisha Yearwood, she has already earned herself a spot among country's upper echelon of contemporary composers. But on her self-titled sophomore CD, Peters (who wrote all 11 tunes) puts her prowess as a singer on display. On such tunes as "Souvenirs" and "Love Is a Drug" ("Up there on the Senate floor, they're kickin' down the bedroom door/CNN is keepin' score/Hey, all is fair in love and war"), Peters heightens the ironic effect by delivering her tart lyrics in a pleasing voice of almost girlish innocence. There is also a restlessness in her lyrical landscapes; her tracks about lovers on the run convey a pervasive sense of loss.

Bottom Line: Bitter fruit, sweetly rendered

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